Looking for a mellow but sensitive jazz pick-up

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Daniel Baskin, Aug 6, 2005.

  1. (I did a search and I tried to access the pick-up page under newbie links but it doesn't work).

    I am looking to buy new pick-ups for my bass in the near future. The pick-ups I have on right now are some kind of easily fitted and removed fishmans (sp?). My double bass is a 3/4 Romanian flatbacked bass with "perminent" strings (a hybrid string I think). The bass has a relatively bright tone and can sound pingy at times when amplified. Unamplified, though, I can achieve my ideal sound, but obviously that doesn't matter when I can't be heard. As far as technique goes, I switch between alternating index and middle fingers, a two finger sweep/brush/side-sweep, and a one finger side-sweep.

    The pick-up that I am looking for will preserve mellowness and be sensitive/potent enough to give the amp a good signal. I do use a pre-amp (around $200) but it goes out of batteries quickly and when I do use it, it still doesn't put enough "oomph" into the amp. I know the amp can put out the volume though because my electric bass can put out plenty of sound, so I am led to believe that I need a pick-up with a strong signal and sensitivity with preserved mellowness.

    Thank you for your time.

    *edit* My budget goes up to $700, but I don't think they cost THAT much.
  2. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    It's a tough call. So much could be affecting your sound... you, the instrument itself, the strings, the pickup, the amplifier. But I suppose you are getting the sound you want unamplified. Which is good.

    So you have to worry about the pickup and the amp. Amps that are great for electric bass sometimes sound muddy with upright. Doesn't sound like you are having that problem, which is good.

    Overall it seems you're right... you could get the best benefit from a nice new pickup. If you're looking for a mellow sound without as much ping or treble, the Realist pickup by David Gage is certainly an option. It is basically a piece of foil that goes under one foot of the bridge, and it gives a full-bodied sound. I've never heard anyone complain about it sounding "pingy". It doesn't cost very much... less than $200.

    I dunno... there is no silver bullet. Everyone on here will say something different. That's why finding the right setup is a matter of buying things and getting progressively closer to the sound you want.
  3. Thanks Tbeers! The realist pick-up sounds like something I'll try.

    Opinions are more than welcome by the way, so don't be bashful.
  4. Kevinlee


    May 15, 2001
    Phx, AZ..USA
    The full circle might be another one to look at. It's pretty natural sounding and probably less "pingy' then some wing pickups, and not quite as dark as the realist. If that fishman your using is the BP100 almost anything is going to sound less pingy and better than that.

  5. jazzbassnerd


    Aug 26, 2002
    I'll give another vote for the Full Circle (unless you don't have/want bridge adjusters [but I don't know why you wouldn't]). I have tried the bass max, underwood and some other various pick ups on other peoples basses. My favorite has been the full circle.

    While I don't want to say the Realist is a bad pickup, to me it seems a bit muddy all the time. Whenever I hear someone live using the pickup I find that I have trouble distinguishing what they are playing (I have seen many players in many venues and rehearsals with that pick up). On the other hand many musicians that I respect very much (Ray Drummond, Drew Gress, Dwayne Burno) use the Realist and most swear by it.

    Hope this helps.
  6. pat.p


    Nov 20, 2004
    Poland, Poznań
    I found Realist working fine on low volume levels and very good for arco. But it sounds a little bit muddy, when you want to play louder. Try to find something about this pick up in archive, for ex.: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=129

    I'm thinking about Schertler Stat-B,which has stronger signaland is more feedback-resistant.
    For most piezo pickups,it's good to have preamp or amp with high impedance input (Fishman recommends 10MOhm- for example AI amps have it, Tech 21 Bass Driver has 4,7 Mohm impedance... there are many possibilities, but the war between naturality and electric reproduction still goes on... :bassist: :confused: :bassist: ).
    Try to visit www.doublebassguide.com
    Best regards
  7. bolo


    May 29, 2005
    Apex, NC
    You might also want to consider the Upton Revolution SOLO pickup. I think it does a nice job of "preserving mellowness", if I understand you correctly, but still offers plenty of detail and definition ... especially if you flip it over and use it like I do with the "R" brand facing the table instead of the strings.

    Although some folks have mentioned they don't think they get high enough output from the SOLO, this hasn't been a problem for me. I think that can have a lot to do with how snug you fit the pickup in the wing of your bridge.

    Besides, for $99 U.S., it can make a nice backup system if you decide you prefer something else.

    Here's a link to a good thread about the SOLO if you're interested in more info:

  8. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I suppose I should be completely honest... I no longer use the Realist pickup for the very reasons some people here have mentioned. It does not provide the best clarity of sound. But it definitely has a mellow sound with a lot of body to it. Currently I am using the Schertler Stat-B. It costs around $265 and sounds very good in my opinion. It is a bit more "pingy" than the realist, though.

    Again, there's no silver bullet! This is all a game of trade-offs.
  9. isolated

    isolated Kind of a Jerk, But Funny. Supporting Member

    I gotta throw in for the Full Circle. I was a Realist guy up until April of this year, when I made the switch. The idea of having something under the bass foot of the bridge started to bother me, and after removing the Gage, I noticed (or at least perceived) a marked improvement in the unamplified tone. So I decided to give the FC a try, and I've been really pleased. Played through a GK150 the other night (not my usual set-up) and it sounded great, no pre-amp necessary. Ultimately, of course, you will find what works best for you.
  10. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Here's another vote for the Revolution Solo from Upton Bass. It's the closest I've ever come to preserving the sound of MY bass, it can be used in two positions to vary the amount of "fingerboard noise," and costs only $99.00 It's quite a bargain. I even carry a second one as backup. It may not be a silver bullet, but it's a nice spruce bullet. In my opinion, it's certainly worth trying before any pickup that requires modification to the instrument and/or bridge.

  11. The thing is, you, bolo, said that the Revolution SOLO has had a reputation for having a slightly weaker signal. While this hasn't been a problem for you, it might be for me. In small settings, the pick-ups I have on right now do not bother me too much, but considering the fact that I play with a big band jazz band, the lack of signal really kills me, along with but aside from the pinginess. What I'm really interested in is the Stat-B. The full-circle still might be a good choice though.

    The reason why I'm not including the realist pick-up is because of the fact that I probably am using the BP100 so any other pick-up may give mellowness, and also I play unamplified quite a lot and if it is under the foot of the bridge, that could be detremental as mentioned. 'Not ruling it out at all though.

    (The bass guide link doesn't work. I believe that was the same link I tried in the newbie sticky.)

    Thanks all!
  12. Also keep in mind that I am going to get a high-end combo amp to go with this. I still want a strong signal though. I couldn't find any of the reviews for the stat-B on the revolution thread. The revolution sounds like a great pick-up, but I think I would rather have a strong signal, as long as its not "hot."
  13. uptonbass

    uptonbass Proprietor, Upton Bass String Instrument Co.

    Oct 8, 2002
    Mystic CT
    Founder UptonBass.com
    See thats the exact problem when we went "strong" or "hot" with the pickup during design it really became voiced like most others. We could have made the pickup cranking loud but when it came down to it, keeping the pickup true was more important than extra hot.

    Kinda like spicy food....it can't just be hot its gotta taste good.

    I'll say it again and again, I use an old contra with my revolution. no pre etc, just a cord....it sounds great and is louder than I could ever make use of.
  14. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Gary Upton is quite correct. I used to use a K&K Bass Max. Plenty hot-- but it made my bass sound like an overgrown BG! Yes, the Revolution has less output than the K&K but the tradeoff is well worth it. Daniel-- especially if you use a pre-amp, you should have no trouble in terms of output with the Revolution. Hey, you don't know what you're missing! IMHO, that is.
  15. Nivaca


    Jan 8, 2005
    On the SOLO, can anybody comment about this issue? Thanks.
  16. Thanks guys. I'll go with the Revolution Solo. Even though money was not an object in this choice, the low price is definately a good thing.
  17. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    You can check out previous posts with regard to fitting the Revolution Solo and output. I will, therefore, keep my comments brief. The RS should be fit fairly snugly in the bridge wing. Too tight and the vibration of the piezo element will be restricted. Too loose and a low output level and poor quality sound will result. Fortunately, quite detailed instructions are included.



    With reasonable care, a good fit is not that difficult to achieve. Very slight lateral and vertical shifts within the bridge wing can change the sound somewhat. There is a definite "sweet spot." I marked mine lightly with pencil so that, in the event the pickup is moved, I can return it to that position.

    Once fit properly, I have found the output to be quite adequate.
  18. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    I've been using the RS for the last few weeks and I'm happy with it. I also marked the "sweet spot" with a pencil. Currently I'm running it straight into a GK MB150 and it sounds pretty natural. When I practice without an amp, which is most of the time, I remove the pickup. For $99 you can't beat it. It seems plenty loud.

  19. Nivaca


    Jan 8, 2005
    Can anybody post a sound sample of the RS? It may help all of us interested in pickups very much.
  20. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Can you actually hear a difference with the pickup removed from the bridge?